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Effect of drysuit seals on intraocular pressure in non-immersed scuba divers

Objective: This study quantifies the change in intraocular pressure (IOP) secondary to wearing neck seals in scuba diving drysuits. Previous work demonstrates significant pressures exerted by these seals; we hypothesize that they would reduce craniofacial venous drainage and increase IOP through elevation of episcleral venous pressure.

Methods: IOP was measured in 33 divers before and while wearing a drysuit using rebound tonometry. The drysuit neck seal pressures were measured using a manometer. A paired two-sample t-test was used to compare IOP before and after drysuit donning. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between neck sealing pressures and IOP by side.

Results: The mean IOP in the right eye was similar pre- and post-drysuit donning, with baseline mean 15.9 mmHg (3.7 mmhg) versus 15.4 mmHG (4.3 mmHg) post-donning, p=0.41. Similarly, the mean IOP in the left eye was also similar, with mean pre-donning IOP 15.6 (3.8 mmHg) versus 15.4 mmHg (4.7 mmHg) post-donning, p=0.75. The mean right and left neck seal pressures were 23.66 (10.60) mmHg and 23.67 (7.87) mmHg, respectively. Only the correlation between right neck sealing pressure for silicone neck seals and right IOP, pre- and post-donning was significant (pre: 0.97, p-value 0.03, post: 0.98, p-value 0.02).

Conclusion: No significant difference overall was detected in IOP with drysuit donning. Keywords: drysuit seals; glaucoma; intraocular pressure